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Shortly after that Adelle Proudfit said that she reckoned it
was time for them to go to bed, she knew Miss Christian
must be tired, and all, coming so far. Inside, she turned up
the lamp, and got a thin straw ticking and some sheets out
of a closet. "I'm gonna lay down the pallet for Sylvestus.
He laks to sleep on the porch, summers." She went out on
the porch, while the others stood, not speaking, in the area of
light around the lamp. They heard her calling, outside,
once or twice, the name of her nephew. Then she came back
into the room. " He's done gone, looks lak. But sometimes,
he don't answer no way, studyen on sumthen."
They said good night, and separated. Lucille Christian
went into the little room where Sissie slept. It was a little
lean-to room, like the one where Mr. Munn had been staying.
Mr. Munn lay awake for a time. He felt that he ought to
be thinking about himself, about what he was going to do,
and where he was going to go. And about Lucille Christian's
coming. But he was tired. He had not felt tired when he
lay down, but as soon as those questions came into his mind,
a lethargy took him, and he could not even frame them for
himself. They were things to be accepted, not answered and
solved. Those questions had almost ceased to make their
demands upon him. Her coming had revived them. The
resentment which had surprised him when Willie Proudfit
came out to the concealment of the underbrush and told him
that she was there, again rose in him. Then it, too, subsided
and dissolved in that lethargy. Very faintly, he could hear
the sound the insects made in the trees out there along the
lane. Then his thoughts, he himself, had been absorbed into
that dry, insidious vibration, which was a kind of life, but life
reduced to its most sterile and unaimed rhythm, the ticking,
as it were, of the leaves drying in the hot air, the ticking of
the dry earth. Then he had drowsed off.
He awoke, in the darkness, to the slight sound of the
opening door, which, in the cramped room, was less than
arm's-length from the head of the bed. He did not stir.